Apr 18 2013
Genesis 15: 1-6, 16: 1-5,12, 17: 17-21, 21: 1-7
If God promised you a child would you expect it to happen through your maid? No. You would expect your wife to conceive. Abraham’s decision to have a child through Hagar the maid was an act of impatience. Even in a culture where barren women resorted to having children through servants, you would not expect a promise of God to be fulfilled that way. And Abraham knew this; that is why he initially waited for it to happen through Sarah. But he and his wife started to wonder why it was taking so long, they colluded to have a child through their maid, and Ishmael was born. Ishmael was a work of Abraham not God, and he became a source of trouble even while he was still in his mother’s womb; fruitful Hagar despised barren Sarah. And later he and his offspring became a problem for Isaac and his descendants. The angel of the Lord summed Ishmael up saying he would be a wild donkey of a man, constantly hostile to all around him (16.12).
But through all this God stuck to his promise to give Abraham a legitimate son, and Sarah gave birth to Isaac in her old age; and how different he was. Isaac means ‘he laughs’ and he brought laughter to his parents because they both knew his birth was humanly impossible, he really was a work of the Spirit. In fact when the apostle Paul compares Abraham’s two sons in Galatians 4.21-31 he calls Isaac the son of the Spirit and freedom, and Ishmael the son of the Law and slavery. And he goes on to say “We are not children of the slave woman (like Ishmael), but of the free woman (like Isaac).” Here he opens the story up to contemporary application, and we will too. More